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Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Today’s article is about the Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History list. The first version of KTM’s insane, bare-bones roadster, the 620 Duke, was introduced in 1994, and this year marks the roadster’s 30th anniversary. It has been a very successful and vital model line for the Austrian company. In a sense, the original Duke was KTM’s first road bike. Before that, the business focused on building enduro and motocross vehicles, and the Duke was essentially a street supermoto variant of its biggest enduro at the time.

Furthermore, the first Duke was so successful that it fundamentally changed the entire business. The Duke II, the 620’s successor, spawned a full line of Dukes, including the Super Dukes, which now form the core of the sprawling company that also owns Husqvarna, GasGas, and, more recently, MV Agusta. However, exactly how many Dukes have there been, and which ones have been and still are the best? Here’s our pick of the top 10, sorted by date.

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History – Top Rated

1994 620 Duke 1

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

KTM’s need to adapt gave birth to the first Duke. After the bankruptcy of the original KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau AG, KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH was founded in January 1992 to learn from its past mistakes. Thus, it developed a road version of the 620 Enduro and focused on its new “LC4” liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine.

Also Read: Top Ten Best KTM Bikes in 2023

The result was the 50 horsepower “Duke” (the prototype was named “Terminator” because of the famous movie at the time). With its aggressive attitude, tubular steel frame, and minimal bodywork, it was not only KTM’s first four-stroke road bike but also a huge hit that helped usher in a new family of KTMs.

1999 Duke II

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Up next in the list of Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History, we have 1999 Duke II. Due to the popularity of the first Duke, which had a more rounded design (again by veteran KTM designer Gerald Kiska) and a redesigned and larger 640cc LC4 engine, the Duke II was created. The success and appearance of this more contemporary version served as the model for a whole number of single-cylinder Dukes that followed.

2005 990 Super Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Of course, KTM production will never be limited to Dukes and single-cylinder engines or off-road vehicles. Due to the success of BMW’s GS-like adventure bikes, which dominated the market, KTM released its first 950 Adventure in 2003. The bike was equipped with an all-new, 75-degree, 942cc “LC8” V-twin, which will serve you well—moving forward as the foundation of the company’s “big bike” lineup. In 2005, a new roadster model called the Super Duke was based on this bike and featured a larger 999cc engine. Then KTM introduced the improved R model, the 990 Super Duke R, in 2008.

2008 690 Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Up next, in the list of Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History, we have 2008 690 Duke. The first 690 Duke, launched in 2008, was a pure and more aggressive update to the original Duke. It had an aggressive, elbow-out riding position, an underslung exhaust, and a revised tubular steel trellis frame. The 690 Duke served as a blueprint for the entire Duke family.

2011 125 Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

The first small-capacity Duke, the Duke 125, resulted from this more aggressive, streamlined, but potentially flexible style. This lively and compact bike was also fully A1 licensed (15PS), remarkably light, easy to maneuver, and beginner-friendly. As a result, it gained a lot of popularity not only because of its attractive appearance but also because of its reasonable price and usefulness for aspiring bikers. It was gradually updated after the second redesign in 2024.

2013 390 Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

But the new, smaller Dukes started with only 125. The 200 Duke, essentially the same as the 125 but with a larger bore engine, was replaced in 2012. Although it did not last long in Britain, the variant is still used in other regions. Although the first 390 Duke, which has 42 horsepower and is A2 compliant, was introduced in 2013, its powerful power delivery and incredibly nimble handling have made it a huge success. It was also revised in 2017 and is now current for 2024.

Also Read: Top Ten Best Rated KTM Bikes on Bikes Catalog

2014 1290 Super Duke R

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Let’s go back to the big bikes. With the launch of the 1290 Super Duke R (known internally as “The Beast”) in 2014, KTM took its big Duke to a new level after the success of the 990 Super Duke. It was the most potent super naked on the market then, boasting a 1301cc V-twin that produced around 170bhp. It also introduced a range of advanced electronic rider aids.

2016 1290 Super Duke GT

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

The GT Sports Tourer variant of the big Duke, decked out in fairing, luggage, and other features, is a branch that gets little attention even though it’s a superb all-rounder. The original 990 SM-T, which stood for Supermoto Touring, wasn’t a Duke. Instead, it was based on the short-lived 990 Supermoto version. However, the concept persisted and was revived in 2016 with the introduction of the 1290 Super Duke GT, which combined the excitement and mechanics of the Super Duke with added comfort and utility. The 2019 upgrade is much better.

2018 790 Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

Do you think all Dukes are “super” V-twins or singles in the vein of Supermoto? Revise your thoughts. With the introduction of the all-new 790 Duke in 2018, KTM ushers in a new era of performance and style for the Duke family. The 790 Duke boasts an impressive 105bhp parallel twin engine and more advanced electronics than the 690. The 115-horsepower 890 Duke replaced the bike in 2021, but Moto’s partners in China built a 790 Duke variant. It has since returned to KTM’s lineup with a price tag of around £8,000.

2024 990 Duke

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History

This year, KTM is celebrating the Duke’s 30th anniversary in part by releasing four new or significantly modified Dukes for 2024 instead of just one. Thus, apart from the revised 125 and 390 models, the 1290 has been replaced by an almost all-new 1390. The all-new 990 Duke, not to be confused with the previous 990 Super Duke, is the best, in our opinion. It has upgraded electronics, new looks, and an all-new LC8c parallel-twin engine that produces 123 horsepower.

Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History – Top List

Sr. # Top Ten Best KTM Dukes in History
1 1994 620 Duke 1
2 1999 Duke II
3 2005 990 Super Duke
4 2008 690 Duke
5 2011 125 Duke
6 2013 390 Duke
7 2014 1290 Super Duke R
8 2016 1290 Super Duke GT
9 2018 790 Duke
10 2024 990 Duke

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